High Anxiety

Fear is an emotional response to a threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. Some psychologists such as John B. Watson, Robert Plutchik, and Paul Ekman have suggested that fear is one of a small set of basic or innate emotions. This set also includes such emotions as joy, sadness, and anger. Fear should be distinguished from the related emotional state of anxiety, which typically occurs without any external threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.[1] Worth noting is that fear always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable. (Excerpt from Wikipedia article on Fear)

The ability to feel fear and keep moving forward distinguishes the living from the merely breathing." Nicholas Lore

What are you afraid of?



Hey guys!!! I've just had the best brainwave EVER!!!

I've come up with a totally great way to get FREE BASEBALL MERCHANDISE!!!

Okay, okay, okay... so listen up...

oooo it's just SO GOOD!

So first, we gotta make a baby. Not just any baby, but something really cute looking, preferably female. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against ugly babies, but let's be real here, ugly babies aren't cut out for The Television. Plus, who wants an ugly baby?

Next, spend the first three years of said baby's life instilling the religion of baseball into the child. Baby's first words? "Walk-off home run." Baby's first trip? Cooperstown, NY. Baby's first trip to the hospital? Hit in the head with a wiffle ball because Baby was watching butterflies instead of paying attention during Baby's first game of catch.

Now we're cooking right along...

Ok, so, sometimes, in order to get free stuff, you gotta spend some money. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out...

Now that Baby has reached her third year, training is almost complete. The next step is to buy you and baby some sweet tickets to the ::Insert favorite baseball team here:: game. Maybe something right on the foul line. That should do you right. Once you have done this, your journey is almost complete.

Next, get to a store, and buy you and Baby matching baseball caps featuring ::Insert favorite baseball team here::'s logo. You might want to buy yourself ::Favorite baseball team::'s jersey, too, and perhaps a supportive Koozie (c) to show how dedicated you are to your team.

Continue playing catch with Baby, making sure to tell her to ALWAYS throw the ball back. This is the most important step- Baby must ALWAYS throw the ball back. It is imperative to the success of this mission.

Your training is now complete. Baby is ready for the big day, the moment you've been waiting for... Baby's first baseball game.

You get to your seats and sit back, waiting for the right opportunity to arise. (Blogger's Note: I will sit on the couch at home, proudly watching through The Television as my two stars get to work.)

Then, finally, it happens... Foul ball, hit right into your outstretched hands! You stand, decked out in your baseball gear, waving your arms and fist bumping your neighbors, looking ecstatic. You turn to Baby, looking expectantly up at you, waiting to do her part, and you hand her that special ball that will change your lives, a barely noticeable knowing look in your eyes.

Just as she was taught, Baby throws the ball back... onto the field.

You feign a look of shock perfectly, you've been practicing in the mirror for days. People are none the wiser (Blogger's Note: except for me, of course, jumping up and down in the living room, yelling "It worked! It worked!"). Baby turns to you, her hands outstretched, waiting to be rewarded for her part in our plan.

This is the time to throw on the charm. You smile- melting the hearts of even the hardest viewers, and wrap Baby in your arms. (Blogger's Note: At this point, tears are rolling down my cheeks. I've never been more proud.)


Next thing you know, Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera are banging down our door, asking us to visit them on The Television. Which we do. You tell about how you always wanted to catch a foul ball, but how your love for Baby surpassed it all.

Then, it is over, as we gather up our jerseys and baseballs enclosed in cases complete with signatures, dollar signs in our eyes...

HOW GREAT IT THAT! It's the perfect plan... so simple, so complete...

Wait, what's that?...

It's already been done?...


Are you sure the new health care reform won't cover this situation?


Hi, My Name is Mickey, and I Read Good...

Over the past week there has been a lot of buzz about The Disney Corporation's buyout of Marvel Entertainment. The public outcry is that Disney will take over the Marvel characters, forcing unlikely pairing such as Goofy as Iron Man's right hand man or Minnie Mouse as the new Mary Jane Watson (it could never happen, Minnie doesn't have the flowing red locks for the job).

What people need to remember, however, is that three short years ago, Disney acquired a little company called Pixar, and fear rose up throughout the land that Disney would wave its magic wand and Pixar would never be the same.

We were wrong. Pixar continued to work under genius John Lasseter and create animated films in the same vein as their previous hits (Finding Nemo (2003), for one,) if not even steps above. Consider WALL-E (2008), a commentary on the greed of human kind and the possibility of its redemption, complete with gorgeously hideous textures and intense attention to detail (and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature); or Pixar's latest creation, Up, a heart wrenching tale of life and death, as well as the choices we make and how they effect others, complete with adult wit and childlike wonder. Disney not only didn't stifle Pixar's creative engines, but enhanced them by recognizing the potential that Pixar held and by providing almost limitless resources for Pixar to grow on that potential alone.

Consider, then, the positive opportunities that the Disney/Marvel deal can present. Eleven years ago, Marvel was a company that was going down the drain. The problem was that kids were no longer interested in comic books or reading, and in turn, trading cards (Marvel's other big endeavor). Television took over in the late 1980s and even further in the 90s, and children became accustomed to moving images without the "hassle" of having to read words. Why read when the character can speak for his/herself?

Why is lack of interest in comic books an issue, you say? Before I go into the point of my ramblings, let me share with you a story about myself in order to better illustrate my meaning:

I remember, as a little girl, waking up every Sunday morning and running into the kitchen, where my dad would be seated with his coffee (black, with the distinct aroma of burnt dirt) and the morning paper (on lucky days, it would be both the Newsday AND the Daily News). To me, there was always something special about the Sunday edition. The hugeness of it, teeming with information and colorful pamphlets, made me hope that someday I could read the whole Sunday edition and be as smart as my Daddy. I would sit next to my father and watch as he would flip the pages, stopping every now and again on something that would catch his eye. Sometimes, he would pass me the sales adverts, and although I had no idea of what a good deal was, I would take in all the pretty pictures.

My favorite part of the experience, however, is when Pops would finally get to the Funnies section. Pushing the rest of the paper into the far corner of the table, Dad would make room for me to scoot in next to him (and, unfortunately, closer to the burnt dirt). When the ritual first began, I was young enough that I did not yet know how to read, so my father would read to me while I studied the pictures. He always pointed to whichever frame he was reading, so that I may follow along. Comics, at this point, not only included funny non-sequitors and witty snippets of life, but included strips such as Prince Valiant, Little Orphan Annie, and Dick Tracy, complete with continuing story lines, bigger words, and more complex content. I was introduced to story telling in ways that books were unable to reach- small bursts to keep my interest of multiple subjects, as well as the anticipation associated with having to wait a week for the continuation of the story.

Slowly, my father started to ask me to read with him, starting out with certain words he knew I could handle and graduating into full frames and finally strips. Dad always made me feel like I was a part of the reading experience with him- like no matter how much or how little I actually read aloud, we were a team, reading together. I felt smart, accomplished and grown up; excited to practice my reading and to get a glimpse of the fun and exciting pictures that went with it. I became a quick reading enthusiast, craving more of the fantasy world that stories brought to me, learning to create my own comic strip pictures in my mind while reading the words on the pages in front of me.

While I know that I do not owe my reading skills wholly to the Sunday comic strips, I have a deep appreciation for what my weekly experience with them did for me- starting up my thirst for the written word.

Overall, kids are no longer interested in the written word. Yes, there are plenty of exceptions to this generalization, but the facts are out there. The literacy rate of America as a whole has dropped significantly in the past twenty years. 14% of Americans have "Below Basic" literacy skills, meaning no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's population clock at 12:00PM E.T September 7, 2009, there are 307,384,108 people currently in the United States. This means that 43,033,755 people in the United States at present moment can barely make it through basic and necessary reading throughout the day. Explains a lot, really, as to a downgrade in our society, as we become more and more obsessed with our television sets and fake "realities" and less interested in expanding our knowledge horizons. As of 2003, 11 million people in the United States were considered non-literate in English. Of that figure, only 4 million were due to language barriers. The remaining 7 million were not able to answer simple test questions.

Disney is a big component to this equation, what with their Hannah Montana's and Kim Possible's. Instead of encouraging kids to practice their school work, these shows focus on fantastical situations for the young characters. Unfortunately, this will continue to be a trend for Disney, as entertainment sells over education.

However, the real interest is in the combination of Pixar and Marvel. Word on the street is that Pixar is already looking to produce Marvel's Ant Man movie. The question here is- how could Pixar create an action hero movie while still sticking to its overall past theme of morality and "close-to-home" relate-able storylines? This balance could be the driving factor behind the success of said collaborations. Pixar has always brought an adult voice into their features, however subtle, through slightly advanced story lines and pieces of humor that, while sailing over younger viewers heads, hit home with parents who are tired of having to sit through the same old cartoon fluff. This is where the genius lies- an action hero movie that can speak to both the young and the slightly older (as well as those who wish to stay young forever), and create a new rage in animation popularity.

How does this link back to literacy? If the popularity of animated films about action heroes is back on the rise, so will the interest in all products related to said characters. New releases in comic books may hit big with older kids, (ages 10 plus), and the trickle down effect will occur, because everyone remembers how much we wanted to be like our "cool" older siblings.

Now, I'm not saying that comic books are intense reading that will teach kids words every word from "aberration" to "zealot", but I think back to how those silly snippets from the Sunday newspaper piqued my interest in reading- apply that to full comic books and perhaps we have something to work with.

It certainly would not be an overall fix to illiteracy in America, but it could be a small step in the right direction.


Life's Not Perfect, and Neither Am I...

Nobody's perfect... It is a fact we all must face but usually fail to do so. I make mistakes, you make mistakes, we all scream for ice cream... it's all a part of our learning curve. It is all about how we deal with these mistakes, both our own and others. APope said it best himself, "To err is human, to forgive divine".

Life isn't perfect... No matter who you are, where you are, or what you are doing. We always want more. It is in our nature. It is the fact that drives our capitalist society.

There is no such thing as a life plan. We CAN plan; we CAN set things up for the future; but nothing is ever set in stone. The beauty, and curse, of this planet we live on is its chaotic nature. The future can be planned for, but never predicted.

Today I stepped back for a moment and examined my summer- everything that happened, everyone I've met, anything that brought me to where I am today. It is interesting to me that summer happens to be the season that usually effects me the most. It is usually when I have had the most live changing happenings and experienced the most growth.

Reading through my past entries, I realized that I had lost my voice. I am falling back into that place where I started out, the zombie-state of disconnect.

I will not let that happen. I cannot let that happen.

Please don't let that happen.

There is a time in everyone's life when they have hit rock bottom. A time when they need support, and a time when they might not know how to ask for it.

I thought I had hit that time before. I was wrong... because I am there now.

The fall from a great height is much worse than tripping on the ground. About a year ago, I tripped, and couldn't figure out how to get back up. The process was slow, until about three months ago, when I not only picked myself up, but started climbing. I got to a height equal to or above anything I had ever seen before.

And then I fell. And now I am in pain. And sometimes that makes me angry.

Mistakes can cause broken bones, hurt feelings and even broken lives. They are sometimes small and manageable, and other time hideous and cruel. We are judged upon these mistakes, and the choices that we have made.

It sucks... Big time...

So I say, hello, readers, my name is Red, and we will be restarting this journey full of knowledge and understanding and especially, new experiences. Please open your minds and your hearts to me, and I will try my damndest not to fail you, although I can promise nothing more than all that I can give. Are you with me? I will be here for you when you need me, will you do the same for me?

Spring may usually be the season associated with re-birth and renewal, but Autumn will be my rise from the Fall...